First of all I want to thank everyone for reading my essay so carefully and taking the time to respond. I can totally see the validity of ignoring trolls and I understand why many writers and others take that approach. But what I was trying to examine was the historical and social power that the word “slut” conveys, even on a mature feminist, even when slung at me from men whom I viewed as pathetic or pathological. The fact is, the word did land in my body, it did cause me psychological distress, and as someone who’s devoted her life to words, I found this too interesting to ignore. Don’t these two facts—that trolls use the word religiously and that a relatively powerful woman can still be psychologically felled by it, at least temporarily—reveal something about the word itself?
I’m also not a hundred percent sure we should dismiss the humanity of trolls outright. Bear with me here.